Tuo and Kosine On The Beat, known as producing duo Da Internz, have had an interesting career thus far. Since landing their big break working for artists like MIMS and Rihanna, Da Internz have taken their award-winning talent from their hometown of Chicago to sunny Los Angeles, a place Kosine is happy to make his second home.
“I was born to live in L.A. and if he (Tuo) told you anything outside of that then he wasn’t being all the way truthful,” says Kosine. “When we first got to LA, it was always the perfect ying and yang. It’s just been an incredible balance.”
Since relocating, their resume has grown significantly. Over the past year, Da Internz have worked on music for Trey Songz, Jennifer Lopez, Tank, Marsha Ambrosius and more. But 2014 became major for them once they landed a new opportunity to work with the queen of YMCMB Nicki Minaj.
Their work on her popular single “Anaconda” not only made the song a hit for the Billboard charts, but it also got them their 5th Grammy nomination. We got to talk to them about working on “Anaconda” with Nicki, their work with Trey Songz on his new album, how they got to jump on one of Nas’ albums and what’s next for 2015.
WL: What was the initial spark behind “Ananconda”?
Tuo: The spark started when I got a phone call from Asterid who worked for our management company. She was like “Yo, I got Nicki’s people on the line and they want y’all to come and finish this record.” When we came to the studio, Nicki was like “I really like this idea that Polo gave me but I know y’all can make me love it.” What we did was we added a little ass and breast implant on the beat. Once we did that, it was a wrap.
What’s a funny story you have with working with Nicki in the studio?
Kosine: I got you. You don’t know how hard she started laughing when I imitated her shaking her ass. When I got up, I was like “Nicki you just came in here like this.” I demonstrated how she was moving her ass in the studio. She cried laughing so hard. I was like “Damn I really made the one with the ass of all asses” laugh from herself.
Tuo: Hey man, she threw that ass in a circle. HOOLA HOOP STYLE!
You also produced Big Sean’s “Dance (A$$)” record. Those two tracks have similar themes, but what differences did you notice in the process of making both songs?
Tuo: No track work is similar man. It may look like that to the public but every process is different. That’s the whole mystique behind the records. It’s about the moment and the energy at the time that you’re making the record. You can’t get that feeling in every studio session. You can’t get that feel in every record you create. The process is never the same. As far as the way we flip it, that’s just what Da Internz do. We kinda the best at taking tracks, flipping them and making them hit records. We got that DNA. We understand what it is, how to simplify it and really make it marketable. The process with this track was all about the energy. We were in the studio with Nicki and everything was incredible man. There were laughs and jokes, and of course we were serious. It was real laid back and there was no pressure.
Kosine: I’m going to disagree just a little bit because Tuo always says this “no pressure” thing and I really don’t understand how he’s able to work and not feel pressure. In my head the whole time, I was thinking if we get this right I know what this could be. Of course I didn’t see the Grammy nomination nor did I see anything about the YouTube records coming into play, but I knew it would be a career-changing opportunity for us. Nicki was right there with us. The pressure was on!
Would you say that the “ass-shaking” records are gold for you guys?
Tuo: It’s all about making the people move man. Of course that’s another “ass” record but you got the “Dance (A$$)” record and now the new Nicki. But it’s all about making people move man. It’s about making people feel good.
Straying away from the booty music, you co-produced “The Don” for Nas on his 2012 album Life Is Good with Salaam Remi and the late Heavy D. How is it jumping from one extreme sound to another that’s a completely different?
Tuo: I appreciate that question man. At the end of the day, some of us make music for the culture and some of us make music because we love it. Working with Nas, Heavy D and Salaam Remi, we call that stuntin’. When we did the Nas record, it was like a dream come true. I feel like what we do is we just take pride in being fans of music overall. If we do things for the strikes, the culture, our homies in Chicago, then we got to put up number ones up on the board too.
How did you guys get the opportunity with Nas?
Anthony Selah at the time was working with our management then and he put the idea to Heavy who gave it to Salaam. Nas had already laid out a verse idea. There also were all these features but there wasn’t a song. So again they called the cavalry in. They called the ‘Ternz in to just pull it all together with the song format and add arrangement to it and go crazy with it. So we were able to go back to the studio with Nas. He rewrote his verses and it was history from there.
You both also worked on several tracks on Trey Songz album Trigga. His music director Amadeus said that it was Trey’s best work thus far. Would you agree with that?
Yea man, I was actually shocked that he didn’t get nominated for the Grammys. I think it was a solid body of work especially compared to his last album. He’s got some great songs on this album.
With all the work you’ve done up to this point, 2015 looks like it will be a big year for Da Internz. What’s next for you?
Tuo: We got Big Sean coming up next. We’re looking forward to his album. We’re working with Christina Aguilera. We’re also working on an animated movie called Underdogs. We’re super pumped for that. We also got this new kid coming out named Anthony Lewis.
Kosine: When Lil Wayne works it all out, we’ll be on Tha Carter V.
There have been a lot of emerging artists that made an impact on hip hop this year. Which three new artists would Da Internz be interested in working with?
Tuo: I’m going to say Tink, Lil Herb, might as well keep it all Chicago so I’ll say Chance The Rapper.
What can you tell us about the project you will be dropping in 2015?
Kosine: Affordable Healthcare is our artist brand that we’re building. The thing about being a producer is that you’re the Robin in Batman & Robin scheme because it’s your job to let the artist be Batman and let them shine and make their dreams come true. With next year being the 7th year of us being in this business professionally, it’s time to make some of our own dreams come true and it’s time for us to talk about our own story. That’s where Enrique Dragon comes from. Enrique Dragon is the front man to the Affordable Healthcare brand. This is just us experimenting. We’re putting our souls and hearts into it and just seeing what it’s all about. The first single “Out Here” is showing everyone that we can have fun making music too. The more fun you have the more money you make.
Will you both be spitting verses on the project as well?
Tuo: Yea, yea we’ll be getting down and dirty on that. The video for the “Out Here” single is out so that’s just the first taste of it. The remix will be out soon and it will be star-studded.